Tag Archive | James D. Knoke

Hummer’s Mean Home: Part I (Perching)~


Coming home means hanging out with the hummers.

I don’t worry about them when I’m gone.

I just miss them.

My husband, the actual-factual, logical-biostatistician, said incredulously, “They fly up to me like they missed me.”

He’s not used to thinking like this,


but he can’t help noticing such obvious birdy behavior.

Speaking of birdy behavior, we are having a problem this year.

The snoozing little capitalist you see above is dominating two quart-sized feeders and relentlessly attacking and driving all hummers off who try to feed. He spends more time hoarding nectar than feeding and snoozes all the time because he’s exhausted from all his effort. Of course he can’t even begin to drink this much nectar!

You can see him perched on the wire above the feeder, waiting to attack any bird that dares to drink! We have three feeders now spaced far apart to control him, one in a bush that is impossible for him to monitor, but when I shut one of “his” feeders down, he goes to dominate another. We have never had such a greedy little guy and he reigns unchallenged. I hope he’s not learning this behavior from watching humans! 😉


Cheers to you from the harmonious Holler Hummers….(and the one little greedy guy)~

Cindy’s Nonsense of Snow~

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Do you remember Smila who had a “Sense of Snow?” I loved the book and movie about her, and the way she could interpert subtle changes in the snowy region where she lived, that other people couldn’t see or understand.
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I unlike Smila, can make no sense of snow.

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In fact, I am mildly afraid of snow, oh heck, make that more than mildly.
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My fear comes from growing up in Southern California where there is no snow worth speaking about, and traveling regularly to ski various mountains since I was young. Mammoth in the Sierras has more snow than many high mountain ranges.
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There is more snow averaged over the years in Mammoth than the Rocky Mountains. Here is the snow looking out the SECOND FLOOR kitchen window in our rented condo unit today.

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Here is the snow resting against our second floor balcony’s sliding glass window. This is a moderate amount of snow for Mammoth in that we have not yet reached 300 inches. In seven winters over the past 45 years, Mammoth has received well over 500 inches of snow, and up to 668! Mammoth averages over 300 inches each year. The snowiest European Alps on average get approximately 380-400 inches of snow, while Andermatt in Switzerland gets around 480 inches a year.

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I know all this because I am married to a professor of biostatistics who loves to ski.

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Here is the ski route out from our condo to the lifts. I get intimidated with snow because unlike Smila, there are a lot of things I don’t know about it, like how to build a snow cave to survive overnight when I get lost on the come-back trail after the lifts close. I often get lost on the come-back trail as the sun starts to set. Once, years ago, I got lost and didn’t find my way back till well after dark.
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I have always skied with guys, first my brother, than boyfriends, husband, son, friends of them, and so on. They always ski better than I do and I focus on keeping up and not breaking my bones. When we are on summits, with whipping winds blowing freezing snow-needles into our faces and practically zero visibility, they get strangely hyped up.
“Awesome,” they say.
“Shit,” I think.
“I can’t see anything and I know it’s steep. I’m dumping them after this run and going alone.”
I do this, and then I get lost on the come-back trail.

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Skiing with young guys is particularly fun. “No black diamond runs unless you ask me before.” I emphasize.
“No problem,” they say.
We get down a particularly nasty run and I say, “That was horrible. I don’t ever want to do that again.”
“Look at the bright side,” they say, “You just did another black diamond.”

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“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
I clearly am not as brave as Eleanore Roosevelt. I don’t want to do something scary everyday. Once a year is quite enough for me, thank you Eleanore!
Cheers to you from the stunning, snowy, and sometimes scary Sierras~

Cabin Fever and The Ol’ Wild West~

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Okay, this is a big log cabin! The fireplace weighs 500 tons and is 85 feet tall.
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It is of course the six-story lobby of The Old Faithful Inn built in 1903-4.

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I have a fever for all kinds of cabins.
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They remind me of pioneers, fortitude and the American West.

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There seems to be living history you can feel in the real old ones that are still in use.
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Jim loves experiencing this too.
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We like to stay in cabins and imagine a simpler, more natural world.
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With fire for warmth, log walls for safety and wild animals as constant companions.
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At home in the wilderness…..
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Can you imagine what it was like to travel like a pioneer, stake out a claim, and build your cabin?
Okay, okay, there would be no wi-fi, no indoor plumbing, no grocery stores.
Can you imagine NO WIFI…..Ever????
I can bare knuckle it for 10 days max.
Cheers to you from the, almost wild, WiFi-west~

Happy New Year to you from Sequoia National Park in Winter!

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We are in the Land of the Giants, Sequoia NP, where the oldest trees are 3,200 years old, the tallest are 311 feet, and the heaviest 2.7 million pounds. Their bark can be up to 31 inches thick. Sequoia branches reach up to eight feet in diameter and their tree bases up to forty feet in diameter (Source: James D. Knoke).

We are spending New Years with the trees, and hardly any people. Due to California’s severe drought, many parts of the park not normally accessible in winter are open, and we are taking advantage of it! (Please click to enlarge).

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The satellite is not a happy camper up here which is why you haven’t heard from me for awhile, and we will see if I can get this post out. This is a shot of the sunset reflecting off the Sierras.

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Most Giant Sequoia’s have been able to withstand fires through the millenia, here are some scarred survivors.

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It is nippy up here but this lake should be frozen over and there should be at least 6-8 feet of snow.

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This is where the Giant Sequoias live,
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with their heads in the clouds! I envy them. They see us come and go.
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Jim likes these wise old trees and “finds tranquility here.” Here he is absorbing wisdom.
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I didn’t make this pinecone circle of love, someone else did, and left it for us here in the grove. Love & Peace to you from Sequoia! And the very Happiest & Healthiest New Year!

Harris Hawks in Flight: Pt. III of IV

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Please click to enlarge. Hawk landing!

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Preparing to launch.

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Launching. Note hawk in the back preparing to follow.

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Another launch.

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Freedom!

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The joy of flight!

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Responding to call and returning to glove.

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Landing.

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Landing for Jim.

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Coming home! Oh don’t you wish you could fly?

We are on the road now en route to a family mountain ski trip for the holidays. Today we found and got close to more wild red tails and a barn owl. Stay tuned for Pt. IV, the red tails flying close ……and maybe an owl or two!

Cheers to you from the road!

Fight & Flight: Red Tailed Hawks~

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The Holler Red Tails are being besieged by the Ravens. As soon as they take flight they are surrounded by flocks of harassing ravens. (Please click photos to enlarge).

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They are usually outnumbered at least twenty to one, and you can see the missing flight feathers from their aerial battles. The raven population seems bloated and out of control. I’ve seen this so many places where I travel.

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They fight continuously. The hawks hold their own for the most part, despite the disparity in numbers. I wonder how they get time to hunt though, since so much of their time is spent fending off attacks from the ravens.

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The ravens are relentless.

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Here is an actual attack shot into the sun so it’s not a good photo, but you can see the hawk reeling from the raven’s slam and you can see the raven screaming!

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The hawks strategy seems to be to fly extremely high and out-altitude the ravens. The one below is climbing. Occasionally at altitude they dive-bomb back on to an unsuspecting raven. Revenge must be sweet for the hawks.

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This one is starting the descent to attack. When they actually start to dive, they tuck their wings and dive-bomb at up to 135mph! Thrilling sight!

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Rarely they fly away as you see this one doing.

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Often other Red Tails enter the fray to come to a beleagured hawks assistance.

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Most hawks carry signs of their battles.

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I am, of course, on the hawks side, since the ravens are cowardly bullies, using numbers to overwhelm and harass, but there is nothing I can do, except watch these aerial battles in total fascination.

Speaking of hawks, remember my recent post about invasive windmill farms? My husband sent me this article about the effects of massive windmill farms. Check it out and see what you think. Raptors need our protection too!

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/22/wind-energy-company-pleads-guilty-eagle-deaths/

Cheers to you from out beleagured Holler Hawks!

Fall Fell!

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The Aspens are showing their true colors.

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And Banff National Park is holding it’s breath waiting for winter.
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The air is bracing now with chill.

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Its time for the bears to sleep, and Jim and I to head home to The Holler.

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We must leave before snow blankets the park and avalanche threats make the roads a challenge.

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Cheers to you from the last days of autumn!